Movie review: Colin Firth is back and Patrick Dempsey joins the fun in this enjoyable third film in the franchise. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
The verdict, in a Bridget Jones-ian nutshell: not v. good, but v. enjoyable. Not as good as “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” but better than “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.” Not as good as Hugh Grant’s sly-eyed elevator scene in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” — really, is anything as good as Hugh Grant’s sly-eyed elevator scene in “Bridget Jones’s Diary”? — but better than a Christmas sweater or a Turkey Curry Buffet. In other words, if any of the references in this paragraph are registering with you, you may as well go see it.
That being said, let me warn you: Daniel Cleaver, Grant’s marvelously shifty cad in the first two movies, is dead. (This is not a spoiler; Grant has frequently spoken of his non-presence in this film, and his funeral — filled with bored-looking models — is one of its opening scenes. And let it be known that Grant, solely on the strength of a not-quite-appropriate-for-a-funeral photograph with his shirt rakishly unbuttoned, nonetheless gives one of the year’s better supporting performances.) Pretty much everybody else from the previous films — Jude, Shazzer, Tom, Bridget’s parents and, of course, Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) — is on hand, along with some new faces, most notably Patrick Dempsey as a charming American named Jack who sweeps Bridget (Renée Zellweger) off her feet.
Movie Review ★★★
‘Bridget Jones’s Baby,’ with Renée Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, Emma Thompson. Directed by Sharon Maguire, from a screenplay by Helen Fielding, Dan Mazer and Thompson. 125 minutes. Rated R for language, sex references and some nudity. Several theaters.
And therein lies the problem: Within a week or two of Bridget’s encounter with Jack, she runs into her ex-love Mark at a wedding and is, er, swept off her feet again. Fast-forward a few months and yes, our Bridge is knocked up, and not quite sure who’s the daddy. It doesn’t matter, says her crisply efficient obstetrician (Emma Thompson, a breath of bracing fresh air in this puffy movie): “All they’re good for is fitting car seats and blaming things on.”
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If you can’t see this movie’s ending from its opening scenes, then, well, you haven’t been paying v. much attention. And though this 2016 Bridget is supposedly new and improved — she’s more successful in her career, has a tidier apartment, has quit smoking and reached her ideal weight — things are still pretty much the same as in the earlier movies: pratfalls, pop songs, random on-screen phrases from Bridget’s diary and adorable dithering.
Zellweger, however, remains utterly charming in the title role (Bridget’s chipper way of giving herself little bucking-up pep talks is completely endearing). Firth has a slightly embarrassed hotness that’s quite effective. Dempsey does well as a sort of anti-Daniel Cleaver (R.I.P.), and the whole endeavor is so relentlessly lovable, like Bridget herself, that I defy anyone to not enjoy themselves. Despite a shameless sequel hint at the end, let’s hope this is the last we see of Bridget Jones — at last, v. happy.